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Mark Renton #2


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The bestselling novel by Irvine Welsh that provided the inspiration for Danny Boyle’s hit film'

Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.

431 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1993

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About the author

Irvine Welsh

132 books6,612 followers
Probably most famous for his gritty depiction of a gang of Scottish Heroin addicts, Trainspotting (1993), Welsh focuses on the darker side of human nature and drug use. All of his novels are set in his native Scotland and filled with anti-heroes, small time crooks and hooligans. Welsh manages, however to imbue these characters with a sad humanity that makes them likable despite their obvious scumbaggerry. Irvine Welsh is also known for writing in his native Edinburgh Scots dialect, making his prose challenging for the average reader unfamiliar with this style.

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65,925 (40%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,735 reviews
Profile Image for Jafar.
728 reviews250 followers
September 3, 2016
Fuck me insensible. Oh ya cunt, ya! Ah dinnae watch the movie, bit ma heid’s spinnin fae readin this shite, ah kin fuckin tell ye. The book’s no novel – mair a collection ay short stories, likesay, aboot a bunch ay Scot junkies. The cunts go aroond, fartin n shitein n shootin smack. The book is written in the Scottish dialect, sortay like whit ah’m tryin tae imitate, ken whit ah mean? It wisnnae easy fe us tae git intae it. It made us scoobied aboot whit the cunts were sayin, likesay, bit after a while it became very enjoyable, ken. There’s like a hundred “cunts” in ivry paragraph ay this book, bit it doesnnae mean bad. Ivrybody jist caws ivrybody a cunt – no offense meant or taken, likesay. Bit nivir caw a lassie a cunt – thit shite is sexist.

Ah dinnae see no glossary at the end ay the book, like some people here say. Ah thoat ma livin in London fe mair thin a year wid help us wi the dialect, bit ah’d be fucked if it did. Ah’d be the last foreign cunt tae pit doon the Queen’s English, likesay, bit truth be telt, ah cannae understand iny cunt if they’re fae iniwhair north ay Birmingham. Jist the other night this pished cunt came tae us in a bar, talkin shite. Ah asks um whair he’s fae. He sais Sheffield. I sais tae um thit ah saw Full Monty, which wis filmed in Sheffield, n ah dinnae understand inything. Ah wis jist bein a polite cunt, likesay, tellin um indirectly tae speak posh tae us. He sais, awright, ah speak posh tae ye, ye American cunt. Bit he wis a good cunt. He telt us a few good jokes thit made us spill ma pish. Ah should go there some day. The cunt telt us thit the pish gits cheaper n the burds git easier the further north ye go, ken whit ah mean?

Life is mundane n depressin, bit sae whit? Pittin poison intae yir body is a load ay shite, only good fe cowardly cunts. Choose life.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
September 9, 2019
Choose mainstream. Choose cheap ebooks that won't challenge you, stretch you, change you or otherwise fuck with your mind. Choose YA and chicklit and bland massproduced airport thrillers with sanitised violence and the kind of sex you're sure you can get from a random stranger you picked up half an hour ago when you were both pretending to be too drunk to know what you were doing. Choose to ignore anything unexpected or transgressive including but not limited to Plato, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Newton, Voltaire, Flaubert, Einstein, Joyce, Proust, Dirac, Sartre and the New Testament. If possible, choose not even to have heard of them. Choose to vote for the dishonest political party whose mindless focus group tested slogan appeared most often in your fucking Facebook feed on your fucking iPhone which you touch or swipe an average of 2600 times a day. Choose to develop Alzheimers and fall asleep while rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on your fucking Kindle and never wake up. But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose mainstream. I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got real books?
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,992 reviews298k followers
September 7, 2012
I must have read the first page of Trainspotting more than twenty times since purchasing the book years ago, and each time I would put it back in fear of all the Scottish dialect. There's no point lying, this is a challenging novel, sometimes you have to read things twice or pause to think about them to fully understand what's being said. But, unlike a lot of books that are difficult to read, this was ultimately rewarding and once you get used to the slang words it becomes a very gritty, moving and funny read.

Trainspotting is a story about a bunch of Scottish heroin addicts (Rents, Sick Boy & others), it's about the dregs of society and it's about prostitutes. If you don't like reading about these kind of people, you won't like the book. If you have problems with the 'C' word, you definitely won't like this book. It's told in several short stories that switch between first and third person narrative and switch between character point of views. Many of my usual rules have been broken for this book: I don't like multiple perspectives, I don't like spending time deciphering the text, I don't like sentences that are made up of profanities. But all of those factors come together to make a great novel in this rare case.

All the characters are oddly likeable in a way, which really says something to me about the author's talent as a writer. Even though they are morally questionable individuals with an ocean of problems, they have a very dark and hilarious sense of humour, and it is this colour and vivacity that makes it all the more heartbreaking when Rents' loses his close friends to HIV and other illnesses.

It won't suit everyone, Trainspotting is about the people at the bottom of the pile who get easily written off as hopeless and a waste of space, but Welsh gives a sense of humanity to these addicts, he makes them people with unique characteristics and personal struggles that we can offer sympathy to. I'm just sorry I put it off for so long.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
July 30, 2023
I had avoided reading this 'generation defining' book as I had previously struggled to grasp the hard Scottish vernacular used, but after thoroughly enjoying Filth, I thought I was ready to read this. A book, a collection of numerous little stories, of the events and escapades of a group of of young men with no real future or prospects, scraping out a life in and amongst the most disenfranchised and marginalised communities in Leith (part of Edinburgh); a group, mostly deeply involved and/or connected to the Heroin addiction epidemic at the time. A book that looks at the sort of lives lived by those society allows to fall (or propels?) through the cracks. Very heavy on Edinburgh and drugs (and drugs paraphernalia) lingo, but still very much effective at looking at deeper darker issues in and around Scotland, inequality, history and the urban adrift, all with a rather at times biting, and extremely dark humour.

I would say that this book has been so deeply immortalised by the film (and its cast) that it was always going to be struggle for me to 'get it' and appreciate this as a stand-alone work; the language was OK, although I just skimmed stuff I didn't understand and made rough approximations; the dark humour was hard for me to see as it still felt like humour at the expense of the less fortunate? 8 out of 12.

2021 read
Profile Image for Luís.
1,944 reviews609 followers
April 24, 2023
Edinburgh was a sick city in the 1990s. While the industrial and employment crisis raged in these post-Tatchérien years, a group of lost friends survived. This world revolves around dope: heroin, cocaine, weed, alcohol, H, barbiturates, clusters of asteroids in perdition, attracted by the fatal orbit of the powder, which is nothing like stardust. So fixed that we lavish ourselves in mock hugs convulsed with pleasure, humiliating pleas to the local dealer for alloyed merchandise, calamitous weaning attempts, doomed recoveries, little value's dilemma, overdoses, and bad trips. Premature deaths, the specter of AIDS, trouble with the law following miserable theft to the detriment of small local traders, and fights in pubs. These football derbies turn into the settling of scores; life without the perspective of these boys is challenging.
On a soundtrack of brit-pop music, this polyphonic novel alternates first-person stories emanating from the various acolytes of this band of chronically unsuitable, endearing, and distanced stories, the third person of the singular, in a very slang and filthy language. Colorful and suggestive, striking and practical like a ball in the face, the alternating difference in tones, disillusioned humor, and self-mockery fully deserves its reputation as a cult book of the 90s.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,217 reviews9,890 followers
March 17, 2011
Everything you heard about this book is true. It will not only melt your face, but also the faces of anyone in the same room as you. Be prepared for a deluge of c-words from page one to page last, be prepared for a detailed account of a bunch of lively Scottish junkies scuffling and waiting for their man and spiking up and all of that. This is offensiveness which achieves transcendence. There are scenes which will make you will drop your jaw so far you'll have to spend half an hour looking for it (it fell off and rolled under the bed). You will guffaw in public, stuff may emit forcefully from your nasal region.

Yes, the first ten or 15 pages will be tough tough tough like Clockwork Orange since it's written in the language of Scottish junkies. Bit et's nae bother. Hack your way through the first few pages and you'll be hurtling along, larfing and barfing, lurching and hurling, all the way to the sticky end.

Apparently some people find the title of the book obscure. Especially if they only see the extremely-watered-down but still pretty good film. Sometimes the notorious psycho Begbie decides after the pub shuts to go to the station and find anyone who's unfortunate enough to be waiting for a train and give them a random vicious beating. In a spirit of fun he calls that trainspotting.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews27 followers
June 15, 2021
Trainspotting (Mark Renton #2), Irvine Welsh

Trainspotting focuses on the lives of a group of friends from Leith, Edinburgh, three of which are deep into a heroin addiction.

The novel is split up into seven sections: the first six contain multiple chapters of varying length and differing focus.

The novel's origins in short fiction are still visible though no segment or chapter is wholly independent of the others.

The majority of the stories are narrated by the novel's central protagonist, Mark Renton.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش:روز بیست و ششم ماه سپتامبر سال 2018میلادی

عنوان: رگیابی؛ نویسنده: اروین ولش؛ مترجم: رضا اسکندری‌آذر؛ تهران: نشر هیرمند‏‫، ‫1396؛ در 466ص؛ شابک 9789644084744؛ چاپ دوم 1398؛ فروست: مجموعه‌ ی شهرزاد؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان اسکاتلندی - سده 20م

نقل از متن: (بخش اول: ترک اعتیاد: بچه های عملی، «ژان کلود وندِم»، و مادر مقدس: عرق از سر و صورت «سیک بوی» جاری بود؛ داشت مثل بید میلرزید؛ من سر جایم نشسته بودم، زوم کرده بودم روی تلویزیون، و زور میزدم حواسم بهش نباشد؛ حالم را بد میکرد؛ همه ی تلاشم این بود که روی فیلم «ژان کلود وندم» متمرکز باشم؛ مثل همه ی فیلمها، این یکی هم با یک پیش درآمد دراماتیک شروع شد؛ ادامه ی فیلم شامل معرفی نقش منفی نامرد نالوطی و چسباندن تکه های سناریوی ضعیف با تُف به یکدیگر بود؛ برادر ارزشیمان، «ژان کلود وندم»، هر لحظه آماده بود تا یک بزن بزن خونین راه بیندازد؛ «سیک بوی» در حالیکه سرش را تکان میداد، نفس زنان نالید «رِنت، من باید مادر مقدسو ببینم.» گفتم: «اَاَاَه!» دلم میخواست این حیوان از جلوی چشمم گم شود، برود، و ما را با «ژان کلود» به حال خودمان بگذارد؛ از طرفی، مدتی بود حال و روزم از خماری خوش نبود، و اگر آن عوضی میرفت و خودش را میساخت، محال بود خیرش به ما برسد؛ بهش میگفتند «سیک بوی»، نه برای اینکه همیشه ی خدا خمار میزد، به این دلیل که یک مادر به خطای بیمار بود؛ عاجزانه تشر زد: «بریم دیگه!» «یه دقه دندون رو جیگر بذار.» دلم میخواست «ژان کلود» را حین کتک مال کردن حریف پررویش ببینم؛ اگر الان میرفتیم، نمیتوانستم فیلم را تماشا کنم؛ وقتی هم برمیگشتیم، داغانتر از اینها بودم که بنشینم پای فیلم، و به هر حال میافتاد برای چند روز بعد؛ این یعنی پول پای کرایه ی فیلمی داده بودم که حتی نمیتوانستم یکبار ببینمش؛ فریاد زد: «من باید بزنم بیرون!» و بلند شد؛ رفت سمت پنجره و تکیه داد به رف؛ به سنگینی نفس میکشید؛ عین یک حیوان جن زده؛ توی چشمهایش هیچ چیز دیده نمیشد، غیر از نیاز مبرم؛ تلویزیون را با ریموت خامو�� کردم، و بهش غر زدم: «بفرما! پولمو ریختم تو توالت؛ الکی حرومش کردم پای کرایه ی این فیلم کوفتی.» حرامزاده ی لعنتی مردم آزار؛ سرش را انداخت عقب و نگاهش را دوخت به سقف؛ «پولشو میدم...؛ بعداً دوباره کرایه ش کن؛ اگه همه ی گُه بازیات مال اینه؛ اونم واسه خاطر پنجاه پنی؛ واسه چس مثقال.»؛ حرامزاده ی بی ارزش، تخصص عجیبی در رقت انگیز جلوه دادن آدم داشت؛ گفتم: «نَقل این حرفا نیس.» البته خودم هم باورم نشد؛ «آره، نقل اینه که من داره از خماری جونم از هفت جام میزنه بیرون، اونوقت رفیق جون جونیم داره عمداً لفتش میده و کلی ام با اینکارش حال میکنه.»؛ چشمهایش شد به اندازه ی توپ فوتبال، پر از برق خصومت، و در عین حال یک دنیا التماس؛ شاهدی نیشدار برای ـ مثلاً ـ خیانت من در عالم رفاقت؛ اگر آنقدر عمر کنم که یک توله پس بیندازم، امیدوارم هیچوقت مثل «سیک بوی» نگاهم نکند؛ این عوضی در این حالت غیرقابل تحمل میشد؛ به اعتراض گفتم: «من که...» «کتتو بپوش بینیم بااا!»؛ توی خیابان اثری از تاکسی نبود؛ لعنتیها حالا هر وقت لازمشان نداری، مثل مور و ملخ اینجا جمع میشوند؛ مثلاً اواخر «مرداد» بودیم، اما من داشتم از سرما مثل بید میلرزیدم؛ هنوز مریض نشده بودم، اما شک نداشتم که مریضی روی شاخم است؛ «الان باید تاکسیا اینجا ردیف باشن؛ یه خروار تاکسی لعنتی! آدم تو تابستون باباش درمیاد تا یه تاکسی گیر بیاره؛ این مایه دارای خیکی لعنتی، اونقد تن لش ان که زورشون میاد واسه رسیدن به اون میتینگای مسخره، تو اون کلیسای بی ارزششون صد قدم پیاده گز کنن! اون راننده تاکسیای حرومزاده ی مسافر تلکه کن ام...»؛ «سیک بوی» در حالیکه نفس برایش نمانده بود، زیر لب برای دل خودش هذیان میگفت؛ در حالیکه چشمهایش وغ زده و رگهای گردنش باد کرده بود، سرش را گرفته بود سمت بالای خیابان «لیث»؛ آخر سر یک تاکسی پیدا شد؛ چند جوان ملبس به گرمکن شمعی، و کاپشن خلبانی قبل از رسیدن ما آنجا ایستاده بودند؛ شک دارم «سیک بوی» اصلاً دیده باشدشان؛ دوید وسط خیابان و داد زد: «تاکسی!» «هوی! چه خبرته؟!» یکی از پسرها با گرمکن شمعی سیاه و بنفش، و مدل موی بوکسوری معترض شد؛ «سیک بوی» حین باز کردن در تاکسی درآمد که: «خفه کار کن بینیم؛ ما اول رسیدیم اینجا.» و بعد همانطور که به سر خیابان، و تاکسی سیاهی که میآمد اشاره میکرد، گفت: «یکی دیگه داره میاد.» «اگه داره میاد که شانس آوردین، بی پدرای عوضی!»؛ همانطورکه میچپیدیم توی تاکسی، بهشان غرولند کرد: «گورتو گم کن، ولگرد جقله ی خال خالی؛ گمشو تاکسیتو سوار شو!» به راننده گفتم: «خیابون تولکراس.» و تفی از شیشه ی پنجره شوت کردم بیرون؛ گرمکن شمعی فریاد زد «راتو بکش برو، بچه زرنگ بی پدر! د یالا دیگه حرومزاده!» راننده ی تاکسی عین خیالش نبود؛ به نظر آدم درستی میآمد؛ اغلبشان همینطوری اند؛ کاسبهای خویش فرما...؛ یا پستترین جانوران موذی روی زمین خدا؛ تاکسی دور زد و به سمت انتهای خیابان حرکت کرد؛ ...)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Brett C.
805 reviews181 followers
November 19, 2021
This initially was challenging similar to A Clockwork Orange but I quickly grew to enjoy it. The book is uniquely presented because it is a series of stories told from first-person and a third-person narrative. After about halfway through the book I realized the characters and their experiences progress linearly. I was able to tie things together on my own and enjoy the book overall. The plot centers around a group of mates in what is roughly the late 1980s Thatcher-era United Kingdom and inside the Edinburgh, Scotland.

Irvine Welsh paints a gritty and raw picture with unemployment, boredom, drug addiction, social constructs within Scotland, and various psychological and interpersonal problems associated with substance abuse. All the characters interact with each other and cope with their own hopelessness, the cycle of heroin withdraw and relapse, and lurking symptoms of anxiety and depression.

For me the magic was the stylized Scots-English accent in the first-person speech patterns.

All the characters at some point experienced moments of clarity and insight before falling back on their self-destructive behaviors due to boredom or ambivalence .

I enjoyed this and would prefer it over Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This story had meaning and insight while the latter seemed pointless and irrelevant. I would recommend it. Thanks!
Profile Image for Daniel Clausen.
Author 11 books467 followers
February 5, 2015
Probably the most famous passage from the book: "Whin yir oan junk, aw ye worry about is scorin. Oaf the gear, ye worry aboot loads ay things. Nae money, cannae git pished. Goat money, drinkin too much. Cannae git a burd, nae chance ay a ride. git a burd, too much hassle, canne breathe withoot her gitten oan yir case. Either that, or ye blow it, and feel aw guilty. Ye worry aboot bills, food bailiffs, these Jambo Nazi scum beatin us, aw the things that ye couldnae gie a fuck aboot whin yuv goat a real junk habit. Yuv just goat one thing tae worry aboot. The simplicity ay it aw. Ken whit ah mean? Rento stops to give his jaws another grind."

I've read this book three times now. Once during high school, once during college, and once as an adult. Reading this book feels like going home. It makes me believe that really great books can be found anywhere.

In some ways I feel the book is a product of the 80s, but I remember it as an essential part of the 90s. For some reason, the Renton's mates seem like the most universal set of characters in the world. Everyone has one friend who is a lady-killer like Sick Boy, a good-hearted man like Spud, a stalwart like Tommy, and an absolute bastard like Begby. As for Mark, well, he is the dude most likely to be the one narrating the tale. I sensitive, never-do-weller who is too sensitive for his own good.

Who of us hasn't had these problems; who of us hasn't had friends like these; who us hasn't wanted an escape from the tedium of modern life?

Others on goodreads have analyzed the novel from a writerly perspective. I wonder how the book got published--because it is a bad book, but because it is so uniquely good that you only realize how good it is by investing your time in reading it again and again (and learning the slang if you don't know Scottish dialect). The book seems to be authentic because it doesn't try too hard to be something it's not.

Perhaps that's the message for writers reading this book: be who you are as a writer, for good or ill, and hopefully it will all work. Or, you can just give up writing and live a normal, happy, healthy life.

Whin yir off the writing, all you think about is writing. Oan the writing, ye worry aboot loads ay things. Nae money, cannae git an agent. Goat an agent, won't return your calls. Cannae git a publisher, nae chance ay a making it. Git a publisher, too much hassle, canne breathe withoot them gitten oan yir case. Either that, or ye blow it, and feel aw guilty. Ye worry aboot bills these effete critics beatin us, aw the things that ye couldnaegie a fuck aboot whin yuv given up the writing.
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
479 reviews190 followers
April 5, 2021
First time I've read this and couldn't put it down, seen the movie over a hundred times, know screenplay off by heart basically; what a great adaptation eh?

Anyway enough of the movie..

This book was absolutely brilliant, I now understand why it's such a cult classic.

It's written so well, the character development is spot on, it's dark, it's hilarious and a true masterpiece.

I need to read more books from my homeland. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Go read this one ya radge! 👊
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
November 14, 2010
As seen on The Readventurer

This is why I love reading challenges - they allow me to discover books I would have never picked up on my own. Let's face it, would I ever intentionally seek a book about Scottish low-lives - junkies, thugs, and prostitutes? Don't think so. But alas, the fate threw Welsh's "Trainspotting" my way and I ate it up like hot cakes.

"Trainspotting" is a collection of short stories narrating scenes in the lives of a Skag Boys (skag = heroin) - Rents, Sick Boy, Begsbie, Spud, and various people around them - their families, lovers, drug suppliers, partners in crime, or victims. Mark Renton (Rents) is more or less is the protagonist, this is mostly his story, even though the stories are written from multiple points of view in 1st and 3rd person. The majority of them is also narrated in Scottish dialect, so some initial effort to understand is required.

The best thing about this book is that it takes you on a roller-coaster ride - it takes you from revulsion to uncontrollable boasts of laughter to tears of compassion. Considering that every other word in this book is a profanity, I think Irvine Welsh has talent.

"Trainspotting" starts off as a rather repulsive read - within the first 10 pages Rents is fishing out the drugs that he has just rectally ingested out of the filthy overflowing public toilet. The repulsive factor doesn't really go away as the story progresses, we are faced with psychopath Begsbie who is extremely abusive to everyone around him, including his girlfriends, or Sick Boy who is very popular with women and at some point becomes a pimp of a few of them, or Rents himself, who drunkenly has sex with a 14-year old girl or shags his dead brother's pregnant fiance in the bathroom during his funeral. The list goes on and on. But the thing is, in spite of all these depravities, Skag Boys are strangely relatable and, dare I say it, often likable. They are losers and addicts and criminals, but their emotional and moral struggles are real.

The book is, although very dark, at the same time hilarious, it is filled with Rents' sarcastic humor. This quote from the scene can give you a good taste of the writing.

Here Rents is held by his parents under the house arrest. They are attempting to get him off the heroin, Rents' mom is trying to feed him.

"The auld girl sticks us in the comfy chair by the fire in front ay the telly, and puts a tray oan ma lap. Ah'm convulsing inside anyway, but the mince looks revolting.
- Ah've telt ye ah dinnae eat meat Ma, ah sais.
- Ye eywis liked yer mince and tatties (potatoes). That's whair ye've gone wrong son, no eating the right thing. Ye need meat.
Now there is apparently a casual link between heroin addiction and vegetarianism."

In the latter part "Trainspotting" is no longer a repulsively hilarious read, it gets darker and darker, as we follow the fates of Rents' many friends, and it's not pretty - too many of them are dying - from HIV from sharing needles, from cancer, gangrene, heart attacks. Seeing this many deaths, 25-year old Rents attempts to kick his habit over and over again, but will he and his friends succeed?

I think "Trainspotting" is a remarkable read and I will definitely read more of Welsh's work. But is this book for everybody? Absolutely not. It is filled with human depravities, profanity, and written in Scottish dialect. This will turn off many readers. But if you are looking for a challenging (in many ways) read, give "Trainspotting" a try. You won't be disappointed.

Reading challenge: #13 - transgressive
Profile Image for Gianfranco Mancini.
2,209 reviews791 followers
April 14, 2021

“Scegli la vita. Scegli il mutuo da pagare, la lavatrice, la macchina; scegli di startene seduto su un divano a guardare i giochini alla televisione, a distruggerti il cervello e l'anima, a riempirti la pancia di porcherie che ti avvelenano. Scegli di marcire in un ospizio, cacandoti e pisciandoti sotto, cazzo, per la gioia di quegli stronzi egoisti e fottuti che hai messo al mondo.”

“Beh, io invece scelgo di non sceglierla, la vita. E se quei coglioni non sanno come prenderla, una cosa del genere, beh, cazzo, il problema è loro, non mio. Come dice Harry Lauder, io voglio andare dritto per la mia strada, fino in fondo.”

Dopo aver visto e rivisto per anni "Trainspotting" di Danny Boyle, uno dei miei film preferiti, mi sono finalmente deciso a leggere il libro da cui é stato tratto, dopo averlo trovato usato ad un prezzo stracciato su di una bancarella.

Libro e film hanno una cosa in comune: prendono a pugni in pancia il lettore senza fare sconti, ma in confronto al romanzo di Welsh il film é un cartone animato della Disney... se volete leggerlo e già il film vi ha traumatizzati, beh ora siete avvisati.

Mentre il film era unicamente narrato dal punto di vista di Renton-Ewan McGregor, il romanzo é narrato dal punto di vista di tutti i personaggi, molti di più e molto più estremi: es. se Begpie-Robert Carlyle era pazzo ma divertente, qui é il peggiore dei pezzi di merda, un pazzo furioso capace di prendere a calci in pancia la moglie incinta per un nonnulla e di accoltellare un passante solo perché gli ha incrociato lo sguardo... con un ferro da calza, perché il coltello si ferma a volte contro le costole.

Per questo motivo più che un romanzo, Trainspotting di Irvine Welsh sembra quasi un'antologia di racconti brevi: il problema é che essendo sempre sotto droghe e cambiando il punto di vista della narrazione, a volte non si capisce chi é che sta parlando (la scena allucinante del film in cui Spud si caca addosso nel libro é molto peggio, peccato che non si capisca chi stia raccontandola tranne che non può essere Spud, il quale infarcisce ogni sua frase di "non per dire" e "capito?", cosa che non avviene nella parte in questione... )

Il libro é comunque avvincente, delirante, sboccato e a tratti divertente (Sick Boy che si immagina di parlare con Sean Connery mi ha fatto sbellicare).

Una discesa all'inferno in una Edinburgo di fine anni ottanta che più nera e disperata non si può, che alla fine ci fornisce due lezioni di vita fondamentali:
1)Lasciate stare le droghe e le cattive compagnie che é meglio.
2)I camerieri sono persone molto potenti: mai scherzare con loro

Lettura altamente consigliata se amate il film, se avete lo stomaco d'acciaio e se non vi disturba il turpiloquio: "cazzo" e "coglione" sono probabilmente i 2 vocaboli più usati...
Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews90 followers
November 9, 2021
Depressing and disgusting. I love to hate this book. Repulsive stories about drug addicts is just a top layer which covers a lot more social problems - poverty, AIDS, injustice, misogyny and other forms of hate and violence that are still thriving even in developed countries.
Profile Image for Anu.
365 reviews889 followers
July 12, 2020
Ah didnae expect the book to be as good as the movie. Bit it wis. Ah remembuh reading the first chapter at least fifteen times before ah wis able tae git intae it. Once ye git intae it, ye cannae git out.

Sure, it's abit shootin smack n fuckin, bit it's git some soul tae it. N the entire book is wrote this way; so I cannae say it's fae ivrybody. Bit if yer intae some profanity n have no problem wi explicit content, this is fae ye. I dunnae think I ken write like this any longer, so me review ends here.
Profile Image for Ruxandra (4fără15).
239 reviews5,221 followers
August 13, 2021
a fascinating exploration of political and social marginality. I loved every bit of this book and, had I not already read Skagboys (in Welsh's own words, "probably the most overtly political book" he's ever written and the prequel to Trainspotting), I would definitely have rated it higher. still, Skagboys is simply so much more engaging and carefully constructed.
Profile Image for Poonam.
605 reviews506 followers
April 15, 2017
Buddy Read with Murugesh.

This is the first time I am reading a book that involves Drug Addiction. It does not just involve Drug addiction but that is the center theme of the story.

The writing is a bit different and most of the chapters are written in Scottish dialect and I had to actually go and re-read sentences many times! The narrator changes with each chapter, and at first it was difficult to follow whose point of view we are reading.
But as the book progresses, just by looking at the language and particular use of words, I was able to identify who the narrator for the chapter is.

We follow the lives of drug addicts, the depth of the addiction, the fight to come out of it and then back to the addiction. The diseases that the addicts are prone to (AIDS because of the needle sharing) and apathetic daze they live and die in.

There are some very unlikable set of characters and at the end of it you don't feel like rooting for any of them. Out of the all the characters , Spud was naive and Davie was decent (apart from the one act). Rent Boy was all shades of grey whereas Sick Boy and Begbie were despicable by the end of it!

Sounds dreadful doesn't it, but the author has done an interesting job of putting it all forward and making this an interesting read.

There were inventive ways of taking drugs, that I had no idea about and there were numerable scenes that made me very uncomfortable. This was definitely out of my comfort zone but I am still glad that I read this dark, troubling, disgusting, depressing but still funny at times story.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,982 followers
March 6, 2013
I'm a little confused about why I'd had the other edition reviewed, when I didn't read the John Hodge after-movie version. *delete, delete, delete*

If I hadn't seen the movie first, I probably wouldn't have even tried reading the book because the language difference is not the most accommodating to read in print. The writing works for the people, place, and lifestyle that's being shown, but it's definitely easier to understand when you have the movie to refer to in your mind. I will say that after a few pages it did get easier, once I started to figure out which words meant what.

If you missed out on this movie back in the mid 90's, here's a basic rundown :

Heroin addicts struggle to live life while fighting their addiction. The movie (and book) is gritty, bleak, raunchy, sexy, funny, and heartbreaking. This paragraph sums it up in a better way than I'm capable of -

Syringe, needle, spoon, candle, lighter, packet ay powder. It's all okay, it's all beautiful; but ah fear that this internal sea is gaunnae subside soon, leaving this poisonous shire washed up, stranded up in ma body. Ah start tae cook up another shot. As ah shakily hand the spoon ower the candle, waitin for the junk tae dissolve, ah think; more short-term sea, more long-term poison. This thought though, is naewhere near sufficient tae stop us fae daein what ah huv tae dae.

After finishing my read and watching the movie again, I will say that this story is one I'll never forget. The movie came along when I was in a period of my life where I needed to have some things pounded into my head and Trainspotting was a reference point for all things which I needed to remind myself to stay away from. I laughed, I cried, I almost lost my lunch...how's that for a story?

Profile Image for Rowena.
501 reviews2,516 followers
November 2, 2012
I actually quite enjoyed this book though some parts of it were really hard to take. There's a lot of vulgarity, sex and violence, but the book also talks about some important issues, such as Scottish nationalism, HIV/AIDS, drug use (there's a LOT of drug use), racism in the UK and the problems in Northern Ireland.

The characters are quite colourful and interesting, I think they are well-developed.The book was quite philosophical and witty at times, though mainly from a misanthropic viewpoint!

This was definitely a tough book to stomach, especially with the vivid way violence of all kinds is portrayed. I do appreciate Welsh introducing a subculture I know next to nothing about. I will probably be reading the sequel to this book in the near future.
Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books293 followers
February 18, 2017
I've actually read this book several times (as it never fails to wow me) - when the original film came out, I remember rushing to the book shop in a frenzy to go and buy it... now I'm showing my age!

Irvine Welsh is such a fabulous writer - visceral, searingly truthful and highly amusing in places. I thought he hit the Scottish brogue just right with his dialogue, and the characters were so convincingly conveyed...I defy anyone not to fall in love with the hapless Spud! (Just beware when you read Porno...images of Spud=ruined FOREVER!).

I always loved the film, but for me, the book has the edge. Sharp, witty, depressingly authentic - a modern classic, in my opinion.
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews269 followers
October 14, 2018
Welsh's novel made me appreciate the movie even more than I already did, even though I didn't think it was possible. As it turns out, Boyle's adaptation is faithful to its source, while at the same time it follows its own paths, creates its own trademarks and tells its own story. Just reading the book or just watching the film wouldn't be enough since one can do both and not get the "I've seen it before" kind of feeling. That's not to say that some of the scenes aren't identical in both the novel and the film. However, Boyle and Welsh gave their distinct styles to this magnificent work, which makes them brilliant, each in his own field.

I remember having a conversation with various people about which scene of the movie is the most shocking. While the majority would vote for the one with the baby in the crib, I've always considered the one where Mark od's and sinks into the floor before he's taken to the hospital, while Lou Reed's Perfect Day plays in the background to be the most brilliantly shocking scene of the movie. To me, that scene is the perfect depiction of emptiness, degradation and lack of anything meaningful and necessary for one to be called a human being. Now, while the film conveys these feelings to a certain extent, the book does nothing but that. Welsh took all that's wrong with the world, everything bad and rotten, and used it as ink for his pen, without ever failing, however, to maintain a humorous, almost light aspect in his style. If you think that makes it easier to swallow, think again. I never imagined that a combination of humour and rawness such as this would be so haunting but trust me, it is.

This book, with its trademark style, its rawness and the depth of its characters rounds for me, along with the film, a masterpiece of the 90's. It's not only a stunning piece of literature, but the anthem of a generation drowned in the mud of all that was wrong with society then, and has been to this day.
Profile Image for fourtriplezed .
467 reviews100 followers
October 25, 2021
This was far better than I expected. I really thought that the hype may have been because of the very good film, but I have to admit that this one grabbed me and smacked me around the head. I have read 3 books related to drug culture in my time here on Goodreads. This and Praise by Australian author Andrew McGahan have a realism that suits the circumstances of their time and place. My strong dislike for the hardly readable Naked Lunch was the reason I took this on, there had to be something better than stream of consciousness cut-and-paste words that the author admitted to not even remembering writing. This was certainly it.

With over 167,600 rating and 3,000 reviews there is little I can add.

Choose this book.
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,255 reviews2,298 followers
July 8, 2020
Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting must be one of the most challenging novels I have read. Starting with the totally obscure title, which does not give you a single clue to what the book is about; the Scottish dialect which is a pain in the posterior, especially for someone for whom English is not the first language; the constantly shifting POV's between the various characters, and from first person to third person; the vile language full of cusswords (especially the totally politically incorrect c-word peppered throughout); the absolute dregs of society that the book portrays - junkies, AIDS patients, thieves, prostitutes; the graphically scatological scenes... there is nary a ray of light in this bleak, bleak book. I have taken up this book many a time, tried to read the first page, and put it down - and I see that many fellow readers have had the same experience. But once you get over the initial resistance, you can't put the book down.

Trainspotting is an obscure hobby in the UK, where train enthusiasts watch trains and try to spot various types of engines, bogeys etc. and note them down religiously. It is also a slang term for shooting up on heroin, the name deriving from the similarity of the blackened veins to the train tracks. In this book, a multitude of extremely flawed young men and women spend most of their time doing that; they thieve and sell their bodies to earn money for their fix. Many of them contact HIV. Some of them die miserable deaths.

Why do they do this? In "Rent Boy" Mark Renton's words:
Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting on a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit- crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
This is Thatcherite Britain, in which neoliberal "paradise" life has lost all meaning for middle-class Scotsmen. They have the choice between an insipid life of extreme mediocrity laced with chronic genteel poverty - or a short but vivid one, flying on the wings of intoxication. The characters in this book choose the second.
Ah don't really know, Tam, ah just dinnae. It kinday makes things seem mair real to us. Life's boring and futile. We start oaf wi high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we're aw gaunnae die, withoot really findin oot the big answers. We develop aw they long-winded ideas which jist interpret the reality ay oor lives in different weys, withoot really extending oor body ay worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short, disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up oor lives wi shite, things like careers and relationships to delude oorsels that it isnae aw totally pointless. Smack's an honest drug, because it strips away these delusions. Wi smack, whin ye feel good, ye feel immortal. Whin ye feel bad, it intensifies the shite that's already thair. It's the only really honest drug. It doesna alter yir consciousness. It just gies ye a hit and a sense ay well-being. Eftir that, ye see the misery ay the world as it is, and ye cannae anaesthetise yirself against it.
You can take this as Omar Khayyam's philosophy, stripped of its poetry - or Indian mysticism turned on its head. But it's the philosophy Mark and his cursed mates live with.

This is a dark book, full of distress, but laced with a sunny optimism in some obscure way. You just can't help liking these sorry excuses for human beings and their mad capers. A spot of caution, though - if you are a finicky person who gets upset at the description of blood and filth, steer clear of it. But if you are the kind of reader who likes to stretch his/ her limits, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.
Profile Image for Ria.
452 reviews64 followers
October 12, 2018
'We start off with high hopes, then we bottle it... Basically,we live a short disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up our lives with shite, things like careers and relationships to delude ourselves that it isn’t all totally pointless.'

Lately I've been really into books that involve drug addiction. I don't fucking know why... Okay sooo the edition i got is in Greek because it came for ''free'' with a newspaper i purchased. Since i liked the movie i was like 'Shit i liked the movie.why not get it'. So i got it, read it, didn't experience the pain of having to read the Scottish dialect and loved it. Such a thrilling story, i know.

I didn't expect it to be a collection of short stories. I'm glad i wasn't aware because i don't like reading those kind of books & if i knew, i don't think i would have bought it. Yes i'm a fucking weirdo, Yes i'm aware i love Bane Chronicles/Shadowhunter Academy but i think it's because i love Magnus Bane... what did this paragraph turn into....

It's 3am and my brain is tired so i'm gonna sum it up. If you like the movie get it, If these kind of books interest you/you are in the mood to read something ¿different? get it & If you are like me and love violence and the word 'Cunt' get it... P.S, I'll never understand why people hate the word cunt.
Profile Image for Supreeth.
121 reviews276 followers
September 20, 2019
Choose decryption instead of reading. Choose reading at your office while no one's looking. Choose being desensitized to C-words. Choose googling what the hell is bairn and who the fuck is ken. Choose informing folks what they read is shit. Choose your philistine friend and push your propaganda. Choose watching the trailer 981 times. Choose four more books by bald Scottish man who writes like he doesn't care. Choose being the victim of Dunning-Kruger effect when it comes to Scottish Junkies in eighties. Choose life. Choose assholery for world welfare. Choose faux-literary-swaggery for no reason. Choose Trainspotting.
Profile Image for Daren.
1,328 reviews4,398 followers
October 25, 2021
I love this book, and I have since I first read it back in the early 90s.

Having just finished reading Skagboys, which is the prequel to Trainspotting, published a little under twenty years later, I couldn't resist re-reading Trainspotting to see how good the follow-on was.

What became apparent was how much better Welsh has got at this particular style of writing - the chapter per character, written in dialect. I commented in my Skagboys review that it was immediately obvious which character we were with on commencing a chapter. I was surprised in Trainspotting to find that this wasn't always the case - I had to read a bit and place the context to figure this out. Not a bad thing, just interesting that Welsh was able to improve.

I had no expectation that I would reduce from 5 stars on this reading, and I have not. For me this book, probably along with Vurt, by Jeff Noon represent a point in my youth when I started reading more, as these books really delivered something new and different from all I had read before.

Profile Image for Matt Albers.
23 reviews17 followers
November 16, 2009
I love this novel. I've read it three times, and I never re-read books. What surprised me at the first reading of this book was how disjointed it was when compared to the movie. Only a fraction of the chapters are represented in the film version, and several characters are missing completely. I learned that each chapter was actually a short story and Trainspotting itself was merely a collection. However,I found that the book characters were much more engaging and human. It seemed that each one of them, from Renton to Spud, painted a picture of a part of myself. Admittedly they weren't all parts I liked, but each of them felt soberingly real. I have no proof, but I believe that Irvine Welsh lived the stories he has written down, and that each of the characters is based on himself.
The stories themselves were strikingly powerful and sometimes moving. Sometimes they were shocking disturbing or just a little gross, but they all have a life of their own that you can almost feel and smell and taste. Plus, I loved looking into the spyglass of modern Scotland it provided. Perhaps only the Scotland of a few junkies, but a vivid spyglass nonetheless. Remember though, this isn't William Burroughs, and it sure as shit isn't Braveheart.

A review of this book has to talk about language. It's a shame that written communication is being so cheapened by electronics, because Trainspotting's language could be as important to the development of the English language as, at worst Anthony Burgess with A Clockwork Orange, and at best William Shakespeare. Yes, I am that impressed with the use of written word in Trainspotting. It certainly felt something like reading Shakespeare, since you sometimes had to read it aloud to comprehend what was being said, which I found to be a delightful challenge.

Please, unless you shy away from blood, sweat, pain and human shit, please read Trainspotting.
Profile Image for Asghar Abbas.
Author 4 books192 followers
August 16, 2016

Best Scottish thing ever. If you can read, as in just read this, then you are my hero. It's written in pure Scottish dialect.

And it's movie gave us a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Profile Image for foteini_dl.
454 reviews126 followers
March 16, 2019
Τι είναι για εσάς το Trainspotting;

Για μένα, είναι ο Mark Renton, o Spud, o Sick Boy (και οι άλλοι, φυσικά). Είναι η ωμή σκιαγράφηση όχι μόνο του Εδιμβούργου, αλλά ολόκληρης της Σκωτίας, και κυρίως των οικονομικά περιθωριοποιημένων περιοχών. Εκεί που τα ναρκωτικά και η ανεργία ήταν (και, πιθανώς, είναι ακόμα) καθημερινό φαινόμενο από το οποίο ήταν δύσκολο να ξεφύγεις.

Ακόμα περισσότερο, είναι ένα βιβλίο για αυτούς που το σύστημα τους έχει γυρίσει την πλάτη (και αυτοί έκαναν το ίδιο) και που προσπαθούν (;) να διαλέξουν τη ζωή.

Αυτό το βιβλίο δε διαβάζεται στο κρεβάτι. Θέλει να το διαβάζεις ενώ είσαι στους δρόμους τα βράδια και να περπατάς μ’ ένα τρελό ρυθμό. Θέλει λεωφορεία (ή κάποιο άλλο ΜΜΜ) γεμάτα κόσμο, σε σημείο που να τρως (και να δίνεις) αγκωνιές. Θέλει νεύρο. Και μπίρες.

Συγγνώμη, παιδιά, αλλά τι να μας πει και ο Μπουκόφσκι.
Profile Image for [ J o ].
1,950 reviews435 followers
February 10, 2017
Read as part of the Infinite Variety 2016 Reading Challenge based on the BBC's Big Read poll.

A series of short stories, from various drug-fuelled view points in 90s Scotland that together make up a vivid and dire account of some Scottish junkies, the lowest of the low, who don't want to own a washing machine and watching game shows.

I only made my way to about half way. I do get the point, or the non-point, of this book, I do. But I didn't like it. I disliked the whole of it and I couldn't bring myself to care to read it any longer. I personally don't think, these days, it's anything new, but at the time it was actually written (the early 90s) I can see the impact it would have had. It's not as if it's the first book about drug-abuse from an abusers point of view, either (see Confessions of an English Opium Eater for the first one), nor will it be the last, and it's not the most out-there book I've ever come across (a novel from the point of view of a T-Rex probably holds that title).

Is it great that we're seeing the very dredges of society in book form? Yeah, probably. We need a little of everything here, not just girly romance and myths and magic and Mordor, and not just linear books that have endings, either. I've seen the film, too, and I'd say from what I gleaned here that it's an accurate visual representation of what the book was trying to do, but not everything you write down has a visual counterpart.

Yup. Fine and happy with trying it out but it wasn't for me and I'll never pick it up again.

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